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News > Canada

Canada: Pope Francis Apologizes To Indigenous Peoples

  • Pope Francis offered an apology to Canada’s indigenous people for decades of cultural genocide. Jul, 25, 2022.

    Pope Francis offered an apology to Canada’s indigenous people for decades of cultural genocide. Jul, 25, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/Holy See

Published 25 July 2022

On Monday, Pope Francis apologized in the name of members of the Catholic Church in Canada for its policy toward Indigenous residential schools.

Pope Francis apologized Monday in the name of the members of the Catholic Church in light of its cooperation with Canada in its policy regarding Indigenous residential schools. According to the Pope, the forced assimilation of Indigenous peoples into Canadian Cristian society destroyed their cultures, severed their families, and marginalized generations.

Pope Francis Starts Apostolic Journey to Canada

"I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples," said Pope Francis to thousands of Indigenous people in Maskwacis, Alta. "Here from this place, associated with painful memories, I would like to begin what I consider a pilgrimage. A penitential pilgrimage," he added during his address in the former Ermineskin Indian Residential School.

During his speech, the bishop of Rome repeatedly asked forgiveness, recalling past actions, which were allowed and supported by several members of the Church, resulting in "disastrous error" and "deplorable evil" at residential schools. He described as "sorrow, indignation, and shame" the feelings that invaded him at thinking of the memories of the children who never returned from residential schools.

The Supreme pontiff acknowledged that the forced assimilation policies marginalized Indigenous people, stripped their language and culture, and affected their relationship with their familiar environment.

The Pope's words came accompanied by the admission of the responsibility for the church's institutional cooperation in this catastrophe, which according to Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, is considered "cultural genocide."

The Pope highlighted that several inquiries must be carried out into the past actions until the truth of the facts is discovered, saying that the apology only represents the first step in making amends with Indigenous people.


Pope Francis
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